Tense situation, high pressure condition, lots of expectation, last ball six, unorthodox field setting, unorthodox bowling change and out of the box captaincy. When a cricket fan hears these words at a single time, only one name comes in mind Mahendra Singh Dhoni.
He was given the responsibility of captaining a young side when the shortest format of cricket T20 was introduced. His first major tournament as captain was World T20 2007, South Africa. In the final of the first edition of World T20 against Pakistan, Mahi showed that he was not a captain who goes by the rules, and he has his own swag in captaincy. When everybody expected the final over from Harbhajan Singh, when Misbah was at crease he handed over the ball to Joginder Sharma, who had already been hammered during the match. But the trust of the captain in his bowler made India the first World T20 champion. Captain cool took over as captain in ODIs from Rahul Dravid post the 2007 edition of 50 over World Cup and became the captain in Test cricket in 2008 after Anil Kumble stepped down from Test captaincy.
Mahi has captained India in 199 ODIs, 60 tests and 72 T20s(Most no. of matches as captain by any Indian in all formats). He has been the most successful captain of India till now. He retired from tests in 2014, during India’s tour of Down Under(Australia) with a sudden decision to walk away from the longest form of cricket. Out of 60 tests under his captaincy, India won in 27, lost in 18, and drawn 14. Overall he was most successful captain in test cricket but he also saw some major series losses in overseas tours. Under his captaincy only India became the No. 1 team in tests for the first time.
In 199 ODIs, MS helped India win 24 series(Home and Away) and 6 tournament wins. Out of the 6, 3 are triseries, 1 Asia Cup and 2 ICC tournaments. Under his captaincy India bet Australia in their home for first time in a bilateral series and also he had major series win in Sri Lanka and New Zealand. Under his captaincy India won in 110 ODIs, lost in 74 and tied 4(11 No result). In T20Is he is probably the most successful captain in whole world, as he has 42 wins and 28 losses with 1 tie in T20Is. It is the most number of wins in T20Is by any captain. India topped the rank chart several times for long periods under his captaincy, both in ODIs and T20Is. He also holds the record for most number of sixes as a captain.
During his captaincy period he took many shocking and unorthodox on field and off field decisions. He dropped some senior players from the squad to strengthen the fielding of the team and to give more chance to youngsters as senior players were slow in the field. He showed his out of the box and calm approach to the game several times. He included Yuvraj for the ICC World Cup 2011 when he was going out of form and was supposed to be dropped by the selectors, he promoted himself ahead of inform Yuvraj Singh in the final of 2011 World Cup even when he had performed poor with bat throughout the tournament, handed the ball to Ishant Sharma in the final of ICC Champion’s Trophy 2013 when both on crease batsman were smashing the ball, and the rest is history.
On 4th January 2017 Dhoni again took an unusual and unexpected decision of stepping down from captaincy. He has always kept his calm in pressure and took decisions that were unexpected but at last gave results. This time also believing his decision making skills it is expected that there should be some betterment of team after his decision of quitting captaincy.
Let us expect that the cool captain unleashes the old beast as a player and smash the balls out of the park.